As many of you know, I make it a practice to post periodic updates to let everyone know where we are with various projects. Some of you have been requesting a new update. Here is the latest...
Things Have Changed: We're a Software Company Now
We did it! With the release of the Steinway we have now joined the ranks of a full-fledged software company. Sure, the scoffers scoffed and the naysayers said “nay” and some thought it couldn't be done. But we did it and have our own sample engine!
It took several years to reach this point and I never knew what we were getting into. This is quite a different world than being a sample developer using someone else's engine or sampler. There are so many complex considerations - first the unending details, changing feature sets, user interface design and flow, making sure an engine works on a multitude of hosts and platforms, QA, 64 bit support, custom DSP, avoiding conflicts, revising, documentation, building a registration system, compiling for delivery - to name a few. It's mind-boggling and I have a newfound appreciation for what the folks at NI, VSL, Tascam, Steinberg and what other sample engine companies have done. The past year was extremely difficult because in addition to developing ARIA ,we were dealing with porting and major issues with Kontakt 2.
Thanks to the folks at Plogue and the other geniuses on our team, we will now be able to follow our dreams and develop some ground-breaking things.
The ARIA engine has been extremely stable and robust after working on a variety of systems with the Steinway. Hats off the David and the Plogue team. Product Line: Q: Why do you keep putting ARIA in all caps?
A: To fully convey its grandeur and majesty.
During the past year the following products have been released or discontinued:
- Authorized Steinway Virtual Concert Grand Piano - Pro & Standard Versions - Shipping
- Concert and Marching Band - Shipping
- GPO and JABB with Kontakt 2 Player - Updates Posted and Boxed Versions shipping
- Reason GPO Refill - Available now for download (only $79)
- Sibelius World Instruments and Sibelius Choirs - Now shipping from Sibelius
- Stradivari Solo Violin and Gofriller Cello - Discontinued
Authorized Steinway Virtual Concert Grand Piano
The Steinway Professional and Standard editions are shipping. It is available from us direct and from our distribution partners.
So far...so good. With a 1.0 release I hoped for the best but expected the unexpected and the worst. But no critical problems. Instead, the support calls/emails have been very minimal and instead, many people are writing just to say how much they like the Steinway.
The manufacture took just a little longer than "imminently" expected. Next time I decide to do a cloth and gold-embossed hardcover manual that's put together by hand - I will add more time to the estimate.
We'll soon launch the Basic version for $99 as soon as the download shop is completed.
An update is being made to address the few issues that have cropped up.We hope our first update will be available soon.
It was such a pleasure working with Steinway and we are turning our focus to producing other Steinway models (like the Model B, A and C)
Personal Orchestra, Jazz/Big Band and Concert/Marching Band
We are busy porting Personal Orchestra, Jazz/Big Band and Concert/Marching Band over to the ARIA Player. We'll also continue to offer these libraries in Kontakt too.Orchestral Strings 2, Stradivari Violin, Gofriller Cello, etc.
Expect to see more enhancements such as the inclusion of SAM Brass (in ARIA GPO), convolution, MIDI scripting, advanced DSP functions and other features which we'll tell you about as we get closer.
Because we will need to deliver new samples (the NI format is only for the Kontakt libraries), there will probably be a reasonable update charge.
We're changing course with regards to our strings offerings for a number of reasons. As previously noted, the Stradivari Violin and Gofriller Cello have been discontinued (as was GOS for GigaStudio). We are working on a total strings solution in GOS2 for section strings along with solo strings. The foremost reason is technological. We want to provide some new advanced performance modeling, dedicated DSP functions and impulse technologies that are possible with ARIA but not currently possible with existing engines. We simply need to bring this into ARIA.
We also decided to sell bundles rather than individual instrument libraries. Aside from the Steinway; packaging and selling individual instruments for a couple of hundred dollars each is not optimal and not in keeping with our ultimate goals. It makes sense to have a different approach not only for both business reasons, but for the interests of the user. There were also some other reasons for this decision.
We'll continue to offer tech support and there will be an upgrade path for existing Strad, Cello and GOS users but we haven't figured that one out yet (let alone pricing).
We have been working very hard on the project and it has had so many twists and turns along the way. When the new strings library is out, I think this going to be something special and set new standards. Yes, it is taking longer than we imagined. I'll comment further when the time is right.
A Chorus Line
As previously posted, the Choir is progressing just nicely. Garritan Choirs comprise samples from members of one of the world's most well-known choirs. We are still in R&D mode with the lyric singing capabilities. So don't expect anything too soon. Still working on the multilingual plug-in and have successfully tested lyrics with our favorite multilingual words such as:General MIDI (GEM)
"dar calabazas’ (to give pumpkins), "tsuji-giri" (Japanese for trying out a new sword on a passer-by) and "vetullperpjekur" (joined together eyebrows). How could you pass up the opportunity to impress people with singing words like that? You are going to be able to swoon just about anyone in any language with this choir library. And just imagine adding a Greek Chorus to your projects!
I would put up some demos but I'll never hear the end of people saying they have to have now and making bribes to be on the beta team.
The General MIDI Reason Refill is in beta testing and will be released soon.
Regarding the full GM library, in the last update I told you about some of the issues we were facing (another Murphy's Law scenario). I asked whether we should release it sooner but forgo some of the features we wanted, or wait until we can bring it into our own player. It seems most wanted to wait until we can offer it in ARIA. So we are busy working on programming the General MIDI set for ARIA.
So far so good. Working on ARIA programming and some new features we want to add. If any of you are professional organists and want to help out when we get to beta, please let us know.And there's more products coming but we'll complete what's on our plate first.
We're made a big leap with the launch of the Steinway with the ARIA player. The hard part and most difficult task is behind us - which was the development of the engine. Subsequent libraries are going to be far easier and much quicker.
Thank you all for your suggestions, criticisms, ideas, wish lists, thoughts for improvements, and comments as they help us to make better libraries.
I've learned not to announce estimated release dates. First, they are hard to keep due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control. Second, some people will hold you to them despite disclaimers, vagueness or attempts at transparency.
As a new software company, the complexity and what can go wrong has just grown exponentially. There's quite a bit of work to do and we don't want to rush, so we're not sure as to dates. A hard thing to decide is when to release when there is "just one more feature to add".
Libraries will be released when they are released, we will serve no wine before its time, to everything there is a season...
That's the latest for now. Thanks all for your patience, your ideas and help, and your support!
All the best,
[reposted from the Garritan forum]